Have you ever been somewhere so cool that you wanted to tell others about it? In our “Letter to a Planer” series, our fictional meeting planners Sammy and Jane do just that. Here’s our first letter, from Sammy to Jane, created for Rockport-Fulton, Texas.
In it, Sammy discoveres the twin cities’ unusual meeting venues, Blue-Wave beaches and other meeting amenities. Enjoy!
Here’s a transcript of the video:
I wanted to drop you a line because I’ve found the most wonderful meetings destination — Rockport-Fulton. It’s on the Texas Gulf Coast and it’s an easy drive from San Antonio, Austin and Houston. Or I can fly people in to Corpus Christie, which is only a half-hour away, and bring the executives in by corporate jet land to Aransas Pass, which is just down the road.
Rockport-Fulton is actually two communities: Rockport and Fulton, which are connected by a bridge and surrounded by water on three sides. The beachfront meeting venues and hotels are phenomenal. It’s been such a stressful year for my company, that for our annual meeting I needed to find a place where they could unwind, recharge and get excited about the coming yea. I really think the charm of these Texas coastal communities will inspire and reinvigorate them.
Plus, my little group of 40 is just the right size. Everyone I’ve met at the Chamber has made me feel like they care as much about this group as I do, which is so important. But they don’t just do small meetings. I wanted to tell you about them because they have some spectacular venues on the beach that accommodate 250 to 400 people, which I think would work for the program you have coming up next winter, which also is perfect timing because you can get the best deals here from October through February.
I think my biggest struggle will be figuring out what hotels I want to use, because there are some amazing options in both Rockport and Fulton. In terms of brand hotels, there’s one that has free nightly wine and cheese receptions and another that’s recently opened. Then, there’s a charming bed-and-breakfast inn that would be great for the executive team to stay and meet in before everyone else arrives. There are hotels that have cottage-style accommodations, or are right on the water, or have amazing seafood restaurants with bay views. All in all, there are about 40 different places to choose from.
But I definitely know what venues I want to use for our off-site events. In Fulton Harbor, I’d like to have our full day of meetings at the Paws and Taws Fulton Convention & Meeting Center, which has a wall of windows overlooking Fulton Harbor on the south side and windows and a patio on the east side that open out onto Aransas Bay. We can go right out on the beach and have a barbecue or shimp boil for lunch, and I can shop around for caterers; none of the hotels or venues here will restrict me to using a designated in-house provider, which I love. Between the meetings and dinner, I’m thinking of organizing a fishing outing, because the Fulton Fishing Pier is right there, or I may take them on a sunset canal tour. But one thing’s for certain, we’re going to have seafood for dinner at least once. We have to, the restaurants pull the fish right up and prepare it that day, so it’s fresh and delicious!
On our brainstorming/education day, I am going to base our group in Rockport, because they have a five-star edutainment center there with an aquarium, the Rockport Center for the Arts, the Texas Maritime Museum and the Bay Education Center, so there are lots of great options for group sessions, break-outs and coffee or meal breaks. After the bulk of the business is over, I’m going to have a guide take the group through the Aransas National Wildlife refuge to learn about the local ecosystem and do some birding. Then, we’ll end up on the beach at the Saltwater Pavilion for dinner and dancing. And — you’ll get a kick out of this — my big surprise is that our special guests that night will be the Little Bay Sea Queens, local celebrities who go around and hobnob in their blue-sequined dresses, white gloves, tiaras, fishnets and big white rubber boots. They’re a real hoot, very fun, and I think it will add some nice local color.
I definitely am going to leave my attendees a little free time, because it’ll still be warm enough to swim when we’re there. And the beach is so clean — it’s the only one on the Texas Coast that’s been Blue Wave-certified for several consecutive years — and it’s safe. You can walk a mile out before it gets deep and there are no heavy currents, so it’s very family friendly.
Oh, Jane, I wish you were here. There’s so much to show you — and taste! From the fine-dining restaurants to the casual sunset spots, the grand Fulton Mansion to the Big Tree of Lamar which is more than 1,000 years old! Well, I guess you’ll just have to come and see it all for yourself. I know that you’ll find it as charming as I do.